Michigan’s top elections official has suspended a policy that allowed state residents to openly carry guns in polling places on Election Day.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced that she would suspend the policy, which was put in place in 2017. Johnson attributed the suspension to a change in state law. Under the previous law, residents with permits to carry guns were able to bring them into polling places. As of Tuesday, their ability to do so was barred.
The secretary of state, Johnson, spoke to reporters in a conference call on Tuesday afternoon. Johnson said she was very pleased that state legislators made the change. Michigan is one of a handful of states that allow citizens to openly carry guns in the process of voting.
The change had been made as a response to a lawsuit that was brought against the state for allowing voters to openly carry firearms in polling places. The attorney for the plaintiffs argued in the suit that allowing voters to carry guns was dangerous because they were vulnerable and could do great damage.
“That was never meant for the gathering place of polling places. … In her official capacity as secretary of state, I believe it is the role of that public official to put a stop to this,” Johnson said on Tuesday.
She told reporters she had no intention of taking action to allow Michiganders to take guns into polling places in future elections. The decision, she said, was a joint one between herself and Chief Deputy Secretary of State Richard Studley. The state’s Executive Librarian also helped in making the decision.